Rayfield’s Pharmacy & Soda Fountain!

Rayfield's Pharmacy in Cape Charles, VA. Notice the fish with Christmas spirit!

While many people enjoy visiting a ski resort, theme park or just spending a week on a cruise ship sailing to warm water islands to spend all of their cash in trinket shops and on dolphin tours, some of us still thrill at finding that off-the-beaten-path place, full of local character and perhaps a bit of history. Today we happened to be in Cape Charles, Virginia, an old railroad town that is experiencing a slow, but steady resurgence in population and vitality. Located about ten miles north of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, in lower Northampton County, train enthusiasts will know of Cape Charles as a key location for the old Eastern Shore Railroad, but that is the subject of a different blog. Quite interesting, look it up on the Internet sometime.

But eventually you will get hungry, and when you do, stop by Rayfield’s Pharmacy located at 2 Fig Street. It is off to your left as you come into town, just past the Cape Charles Museum.

Rayfield’s Pharmacy, owned and operated by pharmacist Berkley Rayfield with the help of family and friends, is a place to pick up your allergy medicine or what-not, as well as a little convenience store with everything from soap to tourist items such as postcards and t-shirts. We, however, like Rayfield’s for something else – the diner and soda fountain!

You won’t find Kobe beef here, and none of the entrees come with decorative truffle sauce carefully framing the food by way of the dreaded “spoon push” taught in the finest culinary schools. What you will find is good food, prepared fresh when possible, in a nice family atmosphere.

The ambiance is almost 1950’s Americana. There is a counter, complete with stools on chrome pedestals, facing the grill so you can almost reach out and touch the person cooking your meal. Across the tile floor is a row of booths; in between are a few tables that can be moved for the occasional sock hop. I would think that this does not happen anymore, but the mirrored disco ball hanging from the ceiling and the newer Wurlitzer jukebox in the corner say otherwise?

Breakfast is served until 10:30 AM, lunch and dinner afterward. We were there for lunch so I had the cheeseburger platter with fries. My teenager ordered the grilled cheese sandwich and my wife had the egg salad sandwich. The food was excellent, the service prompt and friendly, three attributes that you do not find in most chain restaurants or fast-food joints.

I am sure you have your own criteria for what makes for a good diner or cafe. Here are some of the benchmarks at Rayfield’s that I appreciated:
– hot coffee…plenty of offers for a “warm-up” too.
– no pre-formed, frozen burger patties. Mine was hand made, probably a third of a pound.
– “crinkle” style french fries.
– Heinz Ketchup AND mustard on each table. No cheap imitations.
– a real soda fountain for ice cream treats and malt and shakes!
and lastly…
– a mounted, 76 pound Channel Bass overlooking the entire place.

Like I said, ambiance as can only be found on the Eastern Shore of Virginia!

If you are in the area, you gotta stop by Rayfield’s Pharmacy in Cape Charles, Virginia for a bite to eat. It’s probably a rule. If it isn’t, it should be!

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